The Pittsburgh Pirates hope that adding a pair of veteran bats can help them avoid a fourth straight loss on Wednesday night when they resume a three-game series versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
Aiming for their first winning season and playoff berth since 1992, the Pirates sent a minor leaguer Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later to the New York Mets on Tuesday for outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck. The two did not make it to Pittsburgh in time for last night's game, but are expected to be in uniform tonight.
Byrd hit .285 with 21 homers and 71 RBI in 117 games with the Mets, including a .311 average since the All-Star break. Byrd, who turns 36 on Friday, will help fill the void left by outfielder Starling Marte, who is out for at least the next few weeks with a right hand injury.
Buck, meanwhile, will offer veteran backup experience to starter Russell Martin behind the plate.
"We were looking to add to our offense, and at the Trade Deadline were disappointed that we weren't able to," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on Pittsburgh's website. "Byrd helps our offense right now. And it was important to have three catchers we feel very good about."
The Pirates skid continued with Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to the Brewers. It dropped Pittsburgh 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for first place in the NL Central.
Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer among his four hits and Neil Walker added a three-run homer in defeat. Andrew McCutchen doubled in the bottom of the ninth with one out and Alvarez drew a walk, but Milwaukee's Jim Henderson recovered, getting Martin to fly out and Gaby Sanchez to ground out, ending the game.
"It isn't over until that last pitch is thrown," Alvarez said.
Aramis Ramirez had four hits and hit the 350th homer of his career. Jonathan Lucroy had three hits and Caleb Gindl drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
"That changeup (Ramirez) hit for a homer...that's a long ways out there," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He killed it."
Milwaukee snapped a five-game slide to the Pirates and won for just the second time in eight games this year at Pittsburgh.
Starter Charlie Morton will try to get the Pirates back on track and is 2-0 with a 2.28 earned run average over his last four outings. He is coming off a 3-1 triumph over the San Francisco Giants on Friday, allowing a run on seven hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings.
The 29-year-old righty is 5-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 13 starts this year and will try to beat the Brewers for the first time in his career. Morton is 0-4 with a 6.25 ERA in seven previous encounters.
The Brewers turn to a former Buc in Tom Gorzelanny, who is 3-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 41 appearances this season, nine of those starts. The lefty has gone 2-4 with a 4.81 ERA in eight starts since joining the rotation on July 7.
Gorzelanny is coming off a rough 5-3 loss to St. Louis last Wednesday. He was charged with seven runs, 10 hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings.
"He didn't command the ball early," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "When you don't hit your spots, they're gonna put a good swing on it."
The 30-year-old was a second-round pick by the Pirates in 2003 and spent his first five-plus seasons with the club before getting dealt to the Chicago Cubs on July 30, 2009.
Gorzelanny is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in nine meetings with his former club, including five starts.